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Real Estate Gathering Restrictions Lifted
 
As you may know, a new DHHS Order came out that went into effect on June 1, 2021. The new rules no longer regulate gatherings that take place at a residence. For other types of gatherings, the rules provide that no one is required to wear a mask outdoors and vaccinated people do not need to wear masks indoors. 
 
Under the new DHHS Order, effective June 1st, there are no longer any regulatory limits on the number of persons viewing a home during an open house or other showing. Moreover, the regulations on masks and social distancing no longer apply to home showings. 
 
Of course, each and every homeowner can continue to impose their own mask/distancing rules on persons entering their home. For Realtors® representing sellers and buyers, it is important to note that as a condition of viewing their home, sellers could, for example, require that a mask be worn by all unvaccinated persons or even that a mask be worn by all persons whether or not vaccinated.
 
However, while it is not a violation of HIPAA to inquire as to a person’s vaccination status, it is certainly true that to many, this is a particularly sensitive inquiry. Sellers who wish to require unvaccinated people to wear a mask could put Realtors® in a difficult position – dealing on one hand with potential buyers who may resent the inquiry, and on the other hand with the sellers who are looking to the Realtor® to verify the vaccine status of each prospective buyer who visits their home. Given the difficulty of this situation, if a seller is not comfortable allowing unvaccinated people in their home without a mask, an easier policy may be to simply require all persons who visit the home to wear a mask. 
 
We will keep monitoring any new guidance from MDHHS and update membership accordingly. Please direct any questions to Brian Westrin at bwestrin@mirealtors.com

Source: Michigan REALTORS® (MR)
Housing Providers Seek SCOTUS Ruling

After appeals court retains stay on nationwide eviction moratorium, plaintiffs announce plan to file petition with Supreme Court. READ MORE HERE

Source: REALTOR® Magazine, National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)
 Short-Term Rental Protections
Move Out of Committees
 
The protection of an individual’s private property rights has long been of significant importance for Realtors® on the Federal, State, and Local levels. Just recently legislation protecting the right to rent on a short-term basis passed out of House and Senate committees and onto the floor of the respective chambers. HB 4722 (Rep. Sarah Lightner (R) – Springport) and SB 446 (Sen. Aric Nesbitt (R) – Lawton), amends the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, to establish a meaningful definition of short-term rental as a residential use and protects that right from local zoning bans. The bill language defines “short-term rental” as a single-family residence, a dwelling unit in a 1-to-4 family house, or any unit or group of units in a condominium complex, rented for a term of 30 consecutive days or less. 
 
Under the bill, local governments still maintain their ability to regulate short-term rentals through their police powers. These include noise and advertising, occupancy, nuisances, inspections, licensing, and many more. Substitutes for HB 4722 (H-1) and SB 446 (S-1), were adopted in committee to clarify this ability for local government. Please contact your field staff with any questions or concerns. 
 
Other bills moving through the legislature include: 
 
Please contact your field staff with any questions. Visit the Michigan Realtors® - Advocacy Initiatives page for any updates on current legislation. 

Preserve Private Property Rights!
Source: Michigan REALTORS® (MR)
Lead-based Paint Violations Surge in Remodeling Boom

As home remodeling increases, the EPA is warning remodelers to take special precautions in older homes and watch out for lead-based paint violations.

Source: REALTOR® Magazine, National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)
Biden Takes Aim at Appraisal Bias, Housing Disparities

The Biden administration is zeroing in on homeownership and small business development as avenues to close racial wealth gaps, announcing a spate of new programs Tuesday aimed at supporting communities of color and disadvantaged neighborhoods. The announcement comes on the centennial of the “Black Wall Street” massacre in Tulsa, Okla., a racist attack on a thriving Black community that left some 300 dead and thousands homeless in 1921.

Source: National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 
Legal Lines - Question(s) of the Month
 
QUESTION: My buyer submitted an offer. The listing agent texted me and told me that the sellers had accepted my client’s offer and that she would be emailing the final signed purchase agreement later that same day. Two hours later, the listing agent called me and told me the sellers had accepted another offer. Don’t my clients have a binding contract?
 
ANSWER: No. Your buyers do not have a binding contract unless and until the signed agreement is delivered to the buyers (or to you as their agent). A text (or phone call) from the listing agent is not sufficient. Do not tell your clients that they have a deal until you have actually received the signed contract.

DID YOU KNOW? Your Michigan Realtors® membership gives you direct, no-fee access to an attorney who is experienced in real estate law and its related issues. Get the counsel and guidance you need to practice your profession wisely. Call 800.522.2820.

For more legal resources, visit law.mirealtors.com

Source: Michigan REALTORS® (MR)
Window to the Law: New Rules Expand Options for Drone Photography


Source: National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)
How the Pandemic
Spurred Cybercrime

With many people spending more time online during the throes of the pandemic, cybercriminals took advantage of that additional dependence on technology to conduct an internet crime spree. The result was that 2020 was a record year for cybercrime, with a reported 792,000 complaints filed with total losses of nearly $4.2 billion, up from 467,000 and $3.5 billion in losses in 2019, according to the FBI’s 2020 internet Crime Report.

Deanne Rymarowicz, associate counsel with the National Association of REALTORS®, told members of the Risk Management Issues Committee during the virtual REALTORS® Legislative Meetings that one-third of all cybercrime over the last five years occurred in 2020. These include compromised email accounts, identity theft, and real estate fraud. Compromised email alone accounted for $1.8 billion in losses, more than a third of all reported cybercrime losses.

Source: National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)
National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)
Code of Ethics Training Requirement

Current Cycle: Jan 1, 2019 through Dec 31, 2021

NAR's Board of Directors recently approved a change to the Code of Ethics training requirement, extending it from every two years to every three ears. This extends the current cycle deadline from Dec. 31, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2021.

REALTORS® are required to complete ethics training of not less than 2 hours, 30 minutes of instructional time. The training must meet specific learning objectives and criteria established by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Failure to complete the required periodic ethics training shall be considered a violation of a membership duty which will result in suspension of membership for not less than thirty (30) days. On March 1, 2022, the membership of a member who is still suspended as of that date will be automatically terminated.

As a friendly REMINDER,
The deadline is December 31, 2021 to fulfill this requirement.

The course is available on NAR’s website (www.nar.realtor) for no charge. Go to their website and look for Code of Ethics training.

If you have questions on whether you have fulfilled the Code of Ethics requirement, please feel free to email DBirkner@SEBrealtors.com

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